DRC Documentation Guidelines

In response to the expressed need for guidance concerning documentation of disabilities in adults, the University of North Florida (UNF) has developed a set of documentation guidelines. These guidelines provide students, professional diagnosticians, and service providers with a common understanding and knowledge base of those components of documentation necessary to validate the existence of a disability and the need for reasonable accommodations.

 

This documentation will assist the Disability Resource Center (DRC) in determining reasonable accommodations as required under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, and other pertinent state and federal regulations. The ADA provides protection from discrimination for individuals on the basis of a disability. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, prohibits discrimination of otherwise qualified individuals who are excluded from participation in, denied the benefits of, or are otherwise subjected to discrimination on the basis of their handicap.

 

Under the ADA, a 'person with a disability' is anyone with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. Under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, a 'handicapped person' means any person who has a physical or mental impairment, which substantially limits one or more major life activities.

 

To establish that an individual is covered under the ADA, the documentation must indicate that the disability substantially limits some major life activity, including learning. An impairment substantially interferes with the accomplishment of a major life activity when the individual's important life activities are restricted as to the conditions, manner, or duration under which they can be performed in comparison to most people. [1] It is important to note that the comparison involves an average person in the general population. Although UNF may regard the student as an individual with a disability or impairment, the student may not necessarily be regarded as substantially limited in his/her ability to learn, thus being ineligible for accommodations under the ADA.

The following documentation requirements are provided in the interest of assuring that documentation of a disability demonstrates an impact on a major life activity, is appropriate to verify eligibility, and supports the request for accommodations, academic adjustments, and/or auxiliary aides.

 

Specific documentation requirements guidelines exist for each of the following categories:

Documentation Guidelines and Forms

Deaf or Hard of Hearing

Students who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing should provide an audiogram from a licensed Audiologist. A letter of explanation may accompany this doc, but the audiogram is most helpful. It does not have to be a recent document unless the student has a progressive loss.

Documentation Review Process 

After the student submits documentation, it is reviewed to ensure it meets UNF Documentation guidelines. This often involves a review by a Licensed School Psychologist or other appropriate licensed professional. Upon completion of the review process, the student is notified via the U.S. Postal System.

Confidentiality

The DRC will adhere to its confidentiality policies regarding its responsibility to maintain confidentiality of the evaluation and will not release any part of the documentation without the student’s informed consent or under compulsion of legal process.

Students are under the protection of the Privacy Act and need not disclose any information regarding the nature of their disability to anyone outside the DRC office.

 

ADA Grievance Procedure

The University of North Florida has adopted an internal grievance procedure for the prompt and equitable resolution of complaints alleging any actions prohibited by the U.S. Department of Justice regulations implementing Title II (public, state and local government) of the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Title II states, in part, that “no otherwise qualified disabled individual shall, by reason of such disability, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination” in programs or activities sponsored by a public entity. Section 504 states, “No other wise qualified individual with a disability in the United States... shall, solely be reason of her or his disabilities, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance...”

 

All ADA/Section 504 complaints, excluding those filed against the ADA/Section 504 Compliance Officer should be addressed to:

ADA/Section 504 Compliance Officer (Building 6, Room 1314) 1UNF Drive Jacksonville, Florida 32224 (904) 620-2870

All ADA complaints filed against the ADA/Section 504 Compliance Officer should be addressed to:

Office of the President, University of North Florida (J.J. Daniel Hall; Building 1, Room 2800) 1 UNF Drive Jacksonville, Florida 32224 (904) 620-2500  

 

Complaints must be filed in writing, on the attached form, within 180 days after the complainant becomes aware of the alleged violation. It must contain the name and address of the person(s) filing the appeal and a description of the alleged violation.

 

An investigation, as may be appropriate, shall follow the filing of the complaint. The investigation shall be conducted by the ADA/Section 504 Compliance Officer or the Office of the President, depending upon the nature of the grievance. These rules anticipate informal but thorough investigations, affording all interested persons and their representatives an opportunity to submit evidence relevant to the complaint.

 

A written determination as to the validity of the complaint and a description of the resolution shall be issued by either the ADA/Section 504 Compliance Officer or the Office of the President, and a copy will be forwarded to the complainant no later than fifteen (15) working days after its resolution.

 

The ADA/Section 504 Coordinator shall maintain the files and records of the University of North Florida relating to complaints filed.

[1] (US Department of Justice, 1992) “Accommodations in Higher Education Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)”, edited by Michael Gordon and Shelby Keiser